Virginia Woolf's ironic attitude to the classics in On Not Knowing Greek is examined not as the bitterness of a woman who has been excluded from patriarchal culture, but as a fascinating and idiosyncratic response to Greek, which owes much to her female predecessors. Not knowing the Greeks is not seen as a gendered deprivation, but a limitation which can only be overcome by using the imagination: finding pleasure in the strangeness of a new language and creating contemporary forms of literature in response to ancient myth are crucial to the development of the woman writer.
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